Turning the page: Hanover’s Class of 2022 graduates

aerial photo of Hanover College's 189th Commencement

Hanover College celebrated its 189th Commencement, Saturday, May 28, with the conferral of bachelor’s degrees to the 251 members of the Class of 2022 at Alumni Stadium.

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Hanover President Lake Lambert extended welcoming remarks to an in-person crowd of more than 3,000, as well as hundreds viewing the online stream. He also delivered the traditional commencement address.

During his speech, Lambert summarized the Class of 2022’s turbulent college careers, noting, “In your first year, you survived an ice storm and campus power outage, as well as the polar vortex. Beginning as sophomores, you persevered in your studies through a global pandemic that consumed over half of your college career. You also called for racial justice on our campus and across our nation, and as seniors, you have grieved your classmate, teammate, sister and friend, Lexi Riggles, who lost her life.”

Mark Levett ’71, retiring board chair, receives honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

Lambert saluted the class and their resiliency, adding, “You were asked to do things that no Hanoverians before you were ever asked to do. And yet you still learned, completed research, created art, performed music and theater, won athletic contests and I hope, oh, how I hope, you had some fun, found mentors, made friends and experienced the joy that is so special to this place.”

Mark Levett ’71, 40-year member and retiring chair of the Hanover Board of Trustees, was presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Levett, a retired executive at Cummins Inc., is only the 11th person to serve the College’s board for 40 or more years. He was elected vice-chair in 1998 and has served as chair since 2014.

Levett, while offering greetings from the Board of Trustees, stated, “I want to congratulate the Class of 2022 on your perseverance and your accomplishments. It is outstanding. I think you have a foundation to make a difference by excelling in your fields and being a leader. The world needs more leaders.”

Hanover’s senior class featured 98 students who graduated with honors. Twenty-seven students achieved high honors (magna cum laude) and 18 completed their degrees with highest honors (summa cum laude). Forty-six members of the group had multiple majors, including one triple major, and 21 students earned a Bachelor of Science degree. The class also included 22 legacy students who have joined immediate relatives as Hanoverians.

Ellinor Smith '22, senior class speaker
Ellinor Smith ’22 delivers senior address

Ellinor Smith ’22 represented the Class of 2022 as senior speaker. A native of Jacksonville, Ill., Smith earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She is a four-year member of the Hanover College Concert Choir, resident assistant in the Office of Student Life and recipient of the Dorothy S. Bucks Award in English.

During her address, Smith stated, “We will be remembered for the resilience, cooperation and kindness we have shown one another and that we will continue to exude when we walk off this stage today. The hard work, acquaintances we acquire and questions we ask during the night turn into success, lifelong friendships and answers we bring into the day. Although college is not the end of our sleepless nights, and despite uncertainty at every corner, we have the power to bring up the sun.”

A honorary Bachelor of Arts degree was awarded posthumously to Alexus “Lexi” Riggles ’22 and accepted in her memory by her father, Clint. Riggles, a communication major and member of Chi Omega sorority and the basketball team, died unexpectedly Oct. 17, 2021.

The 2022 Commencement also included recognition of retiring faculty member David Mruzek, professor of music, and Hanover’s top senior award recipients: Hailee Holberton ’22, Sam Piacente ’22 and Kennedy Walton ’22.

Clint Riggles accepts honorary bachelor's degree in memory of his daughter, Lexi Riggles '22
Clint Riggles accepts honorary bachelor’s degree in memory of his daughter, “Lexi” Riggles ’22

Mruzek, who also served as director of the College’s instrumental programs, has taught music and instrumentation since 2006. He has also served as coordinator of the music theory computer lab and director of the Hanover Concert Band, Hanover College-Community Orchestra and Hanover Saxophone Ensemble.

Holberton received the College’s John Finley Crowe Citation for Scholarship and General Excellence. Piacente earned the Henry C. Long Citation for Scholarship and General Excellence. Piacente and Walton were each presented with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award.

Sally Scarton Mitchell ’95, president of the Alumni Leadership Council, welcomed the graduating seniors into the Hanover College Alumni Association.

Rev. Catherine Y.E. Knott, Ball Family Chaplain, performed the benediction and invocation.

Marshals for commencement activities included faculty members Ann Kirkland, professor of French, Dan Murphy ‘77, professor of history, and Bill Tereshko, professor of kinesiology and integrated physiology.

Graduation activities began Friday, May 27, with the College’s traditional baccalaureate service in Fitzgibbon Recital Hall, Lynn Center for Fine Arts.

Rev. Alton Pollard III, Ph.D.
Rev. Alton Pollard III, Ph.D., delivers baccalaureate address

Rev. Alton Pollard III, Ph.D., delivered the baccalaureate address during the service. Pollard, a member of the Hanover Board of Trustees, is president of the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He began his service with Louisville Seminary in 2018 and served as dean of the School of Divinity and professor of religion and culture at Howard University.

Knott presented the invocation and liturgy of sending. Graduating seniors Gabriel Ratcliffe ’22 and Erica West ’22 read scripture. Pollard offered the benediction.

The commencement activities included live choral performances by the Hanover College Choir and prerecorded instrumentals by Hanover’s student ensembles.

The choir, directed by Madlen Batchvarova, professor of music, includes members of the campus and local community. Featured selections included works by Stephen Schwartz, Richard Rogers, Peter Lutkin, Chester Alwes and Meredith Willson.

The instrumentals, which include the processional and recessional, featured works by Johannes Brahms, Michael Praetorius, Jeremiah Clarke, Johann Sebastian Bach and Samuel Ward.

Purchase a DVD or USB of Hanover’s 2022 Commencement